Joanna Kavenna

Portraits of the Artists

How to Paint a Dead Man

By

Faber & Faber 285pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

This is a novel based on four interwoven lives. In Italy in the early 1960s, Giorgio, a dying painter, contemplates the sacrifices and secret tragedies of his life. His promising pupil, Annette Tambroni, is going blind, yet continues to paint nonetheless. Thirty years later, an English artist, Peter Caldicutt, striding across the Cumbrian fells, falls badly and cannot move. He passes a Walpurgis Night out in the wildness, forced to confront his most disturbing memories. In the present day, Peter’s daughter, Susan, a photographer, struggles to cope with the death of her twin brother. Half-mad with grief, she hurls herself into a desperate affair with a colleague.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'Volume five, then, but still no end in sight. Sandbrook is clearly enjoying himself so much he can’t bear the seri… ,
    • 'By the end of the book something so weighty, stylish and impressive has been built up that one feels far nearer to… ,
    • 'Her ensuing psychotic episode is described so convincingly ... that the reader will wonder if Dobrakovová did not… ,
    • 'The perspectives complement and contest one another, amounting to a glorious, atmospheric set of ventriloquisms.'… ,
    • RT : I reviewed The Testaments for . I will not be taking any questions at this time. ,
    • 'The Testaments is, first and foremost, a manual of resistance ... a type of resistance that is organised, articula… ,
    • 'I did occasionally wonder whether Rupert Murdoch ... might have instructed his editors at William Collins to produ… ,